Giovanna Marotta

Seeing through language. Semantic representations in the blind

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The paper addresses the issue of the complex relation between human cognition and language, with special reference to congenitally blind individuals. The parallel question concerning the reliance of cognition on perception is also taken into account. After a critical discussion of recent neurocognitive and neurophysiological literature on the topic, a set of original behavioral data collected in a group of Italian congenitally blind individuals is presented. The results show a large degree of overlap between the semantic representations of the blind subjects and that of a comparable group of sighted ones. Language is therefore confirmed as the most powerful tool for building and expressing cognition, especially in the case of sensory deprivations.


  • Language
  • Cognition
  • Perception
  • Semantic Representations
  • Blindness


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